Thirty six police officers have died in South Africa due to the coronavirus and over 5,000 security personnel have been infected by the virus, Police Minister Bheki Cele said Friday.

Cele made the announcement during a virtual address to members of the South African Police Services.

The minister said that the police department has been working hard to decontaminate hundreds of police stations across the country after they were temporarily closed due to infections.

He said police officers who lost their lives due to COVID-19 are from various ranks starting from junior constables to generals.

“The situation with COVID-19 is that we are not given opportunity to honor those of us that have fallen,” he said.

South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities in Africa, followed by Egypt and Nigeria.

On Thursday night, South Africa reported its highest single-day spike in coronavirus cases.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said 13,674 new cases were recorded over a 24-hour period, raising the overall count to 238,339.

With the onset of winter, South African officials are expecting an increase in infections in the coming weeks, and have set up several field hospitals and isolation centers across the country.

The virus has claimed the lives of many prominent personalities in South Africa, the most recent being Queen Noloyiso Sandile of the AmaRharhabe royal family, who died earlier this week at the age of 56.

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